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Nokia Lumia Icon & Lumia 930 Review: Windows Phone, Premium

Results: System And Graphics Tests

Basemark OS II

We begin our benchmarks with Basemark OS II, a suite of synthetic tests designed to stress the whole platform with a definite emphasis on processing.

The Icon generates a positive result, nearly tying Apple's iPhone 5s and taking a close second to Google's Nexus 5. Breaking down the individual tests, you can see that Nokia's latest achieves the highest memory score of the options we tested, but faltered in the Web test. This could be attributable to inefficiencies in Internet Explorer. The Nexus 5 wins the first place spot overall, likely because of its high graphics test result, which might come from a combination of running under Android and its faster Snapdragon 800 SoC.

Perhaps most surprising is how poorly the Tegra 4 chipset in Xiaomi's Mi3 performs, losing out to the previous-generation HTC 8x. Keep in mind that the 8x shares the same core hardware specifications as Nokia's Lumia 1020.

Basemark X 1.1

Based on the Unity 4.0 game engine, Rightware’s Basemark X is a cross-platform graphics benchmark for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 8. This test utilizes Unity’s modern features via the OpenGL ES 2.0 render path. Features like high poly count models, shaders with normal maps, complex LoD algorithms, extensive per-pixel lighting (including directional and point light), along with a comprehensive set of post process, particle systems, and physics effects test how a modern game might look and run. 

Windows Phone 8 is limited to Basemark's medium detail setting, which developer Rightware designed specifically to accommodate Microsoft's mobile operating system. It is less demanding than the high detail setting, but remains visually impressive and is the highest common denominator across the three smartphone operating systems.

At the limited medium detail setting, the Lumia Icon surprisingly surpasses the competition. This reflects our experience with 3D games on Nokia's device; we are impressed with the smooth framerates, despite a high 1920x1080 native resolution.

Breaking the scores down, Basemark's on-screen results favor the Lumia Icon. Apple's iPhone 5s manages to surpass the Nexus 5 in the Dunes test, but keep in mind that the iPhone also has a much lower 1136x640 resolution than Google's 1920x1080 device.

In the off-screen test, the iPhone gives up much of the advantage it enjoyed in the Dune benchmark, and the Lumia Icon retains its advantage in Windows, despite the Nexus 5's higher CPU clock rate and identical resolution.